Mudfest: The Inevitable Death of Cassie Summers

Rory Dempsey is brilliant. Incredibly natural, believable – you hurt with him.

Deftly directed – a tight show, well-paced. Purposeful transitions. Christensen is sure of himself and his instincts.

Strong cast and commitment to the themes and ideas explored. These people are hurting and there is no easy way out.

Features poignant and compelling writing about mental illness. You’re torn between conflicting realities and uncomfortable with the uncertainty – a feeling further enhanced by the Artaudian stylistic elements designed to unsettle the audience.

An interested gendered reading is possible – two men trying to control a woman, both feeling entitled to her and dismissing her understanding of herself. This is wonderfully complicated by the question of mental health. However, it is the depth of Cassie that truly prevents the show from falling into sexist territory – I could not take my eyes off Alice Marks even when she was silent. I wanted to see her responses to their words, their suggestions, their rage.

Haunting. Affecting. I had to rush off to rehearsal immediately afterwards and couldn’t get it out of my head for some time.

Occasionally dips into pretentiousness – overlong chapter titles, an AV nature montage, classical music – but overall a moving, fantastic show.

The Inevitable Death of Cassie Summers signals the arrival a new creative force in James Christensen.

Kate Weston

*Full disclosure: Kate Weston is co-company manager of FLW Theatre, but she had no creative involvement in Cassie Summers and had seen none of it until the night of the performance.

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